How can I recover my recording?

Hi there,

I recently started using audacity with Mac OS 10.8.3 and for a while things seemed to be fine. I was recording and saving things just fine until one day I went to save a recording I had done only to get a message telling me it could not save my recording. Not only that, my audio track disappeared entirely and I can’t seem to recover it. I’m scared to close Audacity in case I lose all I recorded. Why would Audacity refuse to save and how can I recover an audio track if it fails to save? Furthermore, audacity seems to have crashed (it says application not responding). If I force it to quit will there be any way to recover the recording I did?

You can get that situation if there is no place to put it.
Do you have a little picture of a hard drive on your upper-right desktop?
Control-Click on that > get Info. Do you have any Available space?

You can also get that error if you put punctuation marks in your filename. Did you try to put a date in your show name? Use ISO dates like this: 2014-02-28.

Which Audacity do you have? Audacity > About Audacity.


First off, please answer Koz’s question about the Audacity version. If you cannot use Audacity > About Audacity, open Finder, Go > Go to Folder and type:

~/Library/Application Support/audacity/

In that “audacity” folder, open audacity.cfg using Textedit. The three-digit version number of Audacity should be at the top of audacity.cfg.

Were you saving a project or exporting an audio file?

If you pressed Delete by accident you could Edit > Undo the delete, if you can make Audacity respond.

If Audacity is not responding you could try pressing the yellow Stop button.

Audacity could also not respond if you were saving or exporting to an external drive or network location that is not available.

If your Audacity temporary directory is set to the same unavailable place the waveform may disappear, though if so, it should disappear every six seconds during the recording. The Audacity temporary directory is listed at Audacity > Preferences: Directories, or you can find out the temporary directory under [Directories] in audacity.cfg (see above).

Also make sure you are not running Audacity from the DMG or Audacity will default to save and export there. See: Installation: Do NOT run Audacity from the DMG!!!! . You cannot write to the DMG.

If it’s a 1.3 or 2.0.x version of Audacity you should be able to force quit and recover the recording - if the data you recorded is accessible. The data is in the temporary directory noted above.

To be safe, you could use Finder to go to the temporary directory, copy the folder, then paste it somewhere you have permission to write, such as your Desktop.